(13) Kansas State (21-5) at Texas (12-14)
Saturday, February 23, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frank Erwin Center (16,540) -- Austin, Texas.
Television: Longhorn Network. Home Record: KSU 15-1, UT 10-3. Away Record: KSU
5-2, UT 1-7. Neutral Record: KSU 1-2, UT 1-4. Conference Record: KSU 10-3, UT
4-9. Series Record: Kansas State leads, 14-10.
GAME NOTES: With their sights set squarely on winning the Big 12 Conference
regular-season title, the 13th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats have come to the
Lone Star State to tangle with the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night.
At 21-5 overall and 10-3 in the Big 12, Kansas State is in first-place tie
with bitter rival Kansas, and both are just a game up on Oklahoma State, and
two ahead of both Iowa State and Oklahoma. The Wildcats took care of visiting
West Virginia on Monday, 71-61, to run their current win streak to two games,
and they've now been victorious in six of their last seven. K-State is 5-2 on
the road this season, 6-4 outside of Manhattan all told when you factor in
three neutral-site affairs.
Simply put, Texas has underachieved this year, the team logging a 12-14
overall record, and only four of its 13 league tilts have resulted in victory.
The Longhorns are fighting to stay out the Big 12 basement, and it's a safe
assumption that unless they go on some kind of miraculous run, a favorable
postseason draw is a pipedream. UT managed to knock off last-place TCU earlier
this week, 68-59, but it was only its second win in the last five games. The
'Horns are 10-3 at home this season, and they've won four of their last five
Kansas State owns a 14-10 lead in the all-time series with Texas, which
includes an 83-57 shellacking of the Longhorns in Manhattan on Jan. 30 of this
K-State's bread and butter is it's ability to shut down the opposition like
few teams can, the Wildcats laying claim to the Big 12's best scoring defense
(59.5 ppg). When the team plays facing the basket, it generates an average of
69.1 ppg, thanks in large part to its 36.3 percent effort from 3-point range
(second in the conference). Rodney McGruder paces the club with 14.8 ppg, and
he is tied (Thomas Gipson) for the team-lead in rebounding with 5.3 rpg. Angel
Rodriguez is known more for his passing ability (5.1 apg), but he is netting
10.7 ppg despite shooting just 36.1 percent from the floor overall, and 31.8
percent from beyond the arc. Will Spradling matched his career high with 19
points, and four others reached double figures as well, as the Wildcats topped
the West Virginia Mountaineers by 10 points earlier this week. Nino Williams
came off the bench to tally 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, helping the team
drop 50.0 percent of its field goal attempts, which included six treys. The
'Cats went an efficient 19-of-23 at the foul line, while holding WVU to 40.5
percent field goal accuracy, and a mere four 3-pointers on 13 attempts. K-
State won the game despite committing 18 turnovers and narrowly losing the
rebounding battle, 28-27.
Texas is averaging nearly the same number of points on offense (63.9 ppg) as
it does on defense (63.5 ppg). The team now has three double-digit scorers on
which to rely, as Sheldon McClellan (13.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Myck Kabongo (12.7
ppg) and Julien Lewis (10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg) have been productive players when
given the opportunity. Kabongo has only played in three games since ending a
lengthy suspension, and Javan Felix serves as the club's primary playmaker
with his 5.0 apg. Texas is guilty of 15.5 miscues per outing, and it ranks
last in the league in turnover margin (-2.0). Ioannis Papapetrou was high man
for the 'Horns in their recent win at TCU, netting 15 points, while Connor
Lammert added 13 and Kabongo had 12. Kabongo dished out seven assists, while
Lammert led the rebounding effort with seven. Collectively, UT shot 50 percent
from the floor, hitting 7-of-18 long-range tries along the way, and it
outscored the Horned Frogs in the paint (32-26) and in bench points (17-9).
Even with Kabongo in the lineup, the Longhorns are no match for the Wildcats.
Texas will some extra motivation playing this one at home, but K-State should
have more than enough in the tank to pick up its 11th conference win of the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 76, Texas 62
02/23 10:31:17 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.